A place where you can park your bike, come in, sit down and enjoy some good food and company

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Does the Blackbird Sing in the dead of night?

Lets see.........

  So last night my brother Kris invited me to a "friends and family" event at the re-opening of Blackbird. Now called Blackbird kitchen + beer gallery. I love to go to these events with a critical eye. Like if I was an investor. That being said, this is my "experience".
   The evening started out well enough. We arrived a little before our reserved time of 7:30. I believe that was to control a mad rush at the kitchen. We were promptly greeted with smiles and welcomes. Kris immediately ran into one of the co-owners and GM Ron. It seems anytime I'm out with my brother its like being with a Rock star.  Handshakes, Hugs and Smiles, Everyone knows Kris. We asked to sit at the cool bar but Ron recommended we sit in our assigned area so they could "test" the servers. A little back story here... Part of the problem with the old Blackbird was "lackadaisical"  service. To be fair, this is what I have heard. I have never experienced it. But back to now... Again, the hostess was very sweet waiting for Kris to meet and greet another co-owner Tony as we headed upstairs to our table. Shortly after we sat we were brought three card menus with one for Eats, one for Drinks and one for Beer. With an expected 50 beers on tap, the beer menu was the largest. I this these menus were made up just  for the nights event. I think it would be a little cumbersome for every day menus. Kris's friend Charlie soon met up with us and we proceeded to drink the water at our table and chat. This is where the "investor"
in me comes out. Our water glasses were kept filled as we waited for over 20 minutes to have a Server say hi. Another couple next to us was waiting just as long and were trying to adjust their  table from rocking. I know if I noticed it, Someone in the staff must have noticed it. But then again at this point nobody has taken our drink order.... So finally a server came our way. I believe his name was Rob. Seemed to be a great guy. He was clearly not aware we had not been helped and was apologetic. He proceeded to take our drink orders. I ordered a Ninkasi Summer Reign, Kris ordered a Ninkasi Dawn of the Red and Charlie had a Titos Mule. The drinks came promptly and tasted great. Next we ordered our Eats. Carrying over from the old Bird menu, Its is still heavily seafood based and has "raw" bar items. Our first course's were The clam chowder, fish tacos (baja style) and nachos. Everything was Perfect. The clam chowder is one of the best I've ever tasted. I thought I tasted a smokiness in the chowder so I asked the server if he knew. He didn't know but if they are smoked clams I say "well done". The fish tacos, simple and tasty. The nachos were a generous serving of pulled pork over black beans with a avocado like sour cream. Served with what must have been house made chips on the side. These nachos don't have yellow processed cheese. and you eat them with a fork!  Next on to round two of drinks. I had the elusive Moonlight Brewing Death and Taxes black ale, Kris had a Ninkasi Tricearahops   and another Mule for Charlie. On to the Entree. Kris ordered the seared  grass fed sirloin with mussels. What a fantastic cut of meat. It was cooked perfectly. A nice salty crust on top and that beautiful grass fed flavor. Charlie got the hamburger but didn't share....it looked good....I ordered the mussels. Probably the plumpest meat I've ever had in mussels. The broth was like French onion soup. I wasnt my favorite broth but Kris sure seemed to enjoy it.  So ...... That was our quick visit.  What is my over all impression?  I will be back! the food was "off the hook" good. I cant wait to try some more, but at the same time. I dont know how I could not order the chowder and sirloin again, Nice choice Kris. I'm sure the wait staff will get up to speed. I would have like to hear some beer and food pairings. Maybe even put it on the menu. And in a Farm to Fork town like Sacramento, I would have liked  the server to know where the sirloin  was from.   Just my two cents.......... So, I believe the Blackbird will be singing in the dead of night for awhile this time!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Hans Dampf!

Ok, So while the Handlebar is "under remodel"... Its more time to ride! I have been riding on high volume mountain bike tires for a long while now. I love them. Mostly its been Kenda Bluegroves and Nevegals. The 2.35 sized tires gave me more grip on the sketchy tech stuff. The difference between the 2.1 and the 2.35's was like adding another inch of suspension. Well now I received a gift from a friend of two new Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires. As much as I have heard how good they where, I wasn't in a hurry to remove my beloved Nevegals. They still had alot  of meat on them so I thought I would just wait until they where worn out. We after getting a good amount of  goat heads stuck in my rear tire I though it was a good time to switch. I only switched the rear to start with. I liked the way the "snake bite" sidewalls felt. A little stronger than the thin sidewalls on the Nevegals. They looked good with a slightly rounder profile than the Nevegals.
They mounted up fine. I pumped them up
to 36psi. Ready to hit Connector trail and Forest Hill Divide Loop the next morning.  Off on the trail I go, the trail was in great shape, slightly loose in spots, but overall good. On the first climb I noticed a noise that made me look down as if I had a flat, It was that "grippy" sound. No flat ... just grip, Nice.  Next a nice little downhill section,Hmmmm... feeling pretty good.. "pong!"the side knobs brush off a boulder but the rear end stayed true to the line, Very nice. almost no deflection. My old tires would bounce off those things. High speed corner and accel out,.... Again, very nice. Its like going from the old single pawl rear hubs to multi pawl hubs, I just seems to "hook up" faster. I swear the whole rear end just felt stiffer but the suspension was working better than ever! I set several PR's on the trail that day and I wasn't even trying to push. I was the most comfortable I have been on the bike ever sense I got it.  I give these tires two thumbs up!

Thanks Tom!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cleaning out the walk in

Ok, so things are getting a little messy in the walk in. I figure its time to clean out a little stock. Lets see here....I've got some slow roasted pork, Hmmmm, the wife always likes pasta.... Ok here we go, I took the pork and cubed it, tossed it in a pan with some bacon fat, added cajan seasoning and let it simmer. Add half a can of black beans, chop up some garden fresh romas and set. Now to the sauce. Start with a little olive oil and fresh minced garlic. A little cream and Arrow root to thicken. Oh yeah....and butter. I would have loved to use Penne pasta but Fettacine will have to do. Add some smoked Papricka to the sauce, Add the sauce to the meat......mmmmm. Add the pasta to the meat sauce and Wha-la! Damn this is good! Sorry no pictures this time. Next time I'll add mussels and it will be purfect. Just the right amount of heat. I did enjoy a new Trader Joe's wine with it. Sugar Pie red wine. Cheap and tasty. Fruit forward and almost no tannins. Slightly sweet. As Gordon would say, a great 'Guaffing 'wine.
Of course....this could all the the wine talking....

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ahhhhhh Bologna!

So tonight I got my "hair did" as the girls would say.What that means is, after a long day, all I want to do is get home and eat. I know the girls will be out tonight so I need to think of something quick to make when I get home. Bologna.....that's it! Now its not often that I have this just hanging around but I happened to get a hankering for some as we cruised the Wall Mart for groceries last weekend. I think the Handle Bar and Grill needs to put this on the menu. Fried Bologna that is. REAL pork stuff Bologna. None of the Turkey - Chicken shit. I fried up a bunch of thick sliced Bologna ( in bacon fat of course) added some cheddar chunks and provolone to hold it together. Season with garlic salt and pepper. Slather on some garlic aoli and grill it on San Fransisco sour dough. Yummmmm.

Who would have know how well it pairs with a Super Hoppy beer like Hoptimum from Sierra Nevada Brewing company....wow.  So after the girls got here from Zumba class. I made them their boneless skinless chicken breast on the grill and sent them on their ways.
Now I'm on the patio listening to Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Sipping on Irish whiskey and enjoying the water fall..........good night friends!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

wow...... I must say, Tonight I sampled something special,  for a bourbon lover this is a must try.George T. Stagg.  140.  proof straight Bourbon Whiskey.  I packs a wallop! but.... sooo nice. This is from Buffalo Trace antique collection. Be Carefull! this stuff is Hot!  But dont let this scare you. This has so much flavor! Its nuts. You have to try  this neat at first. After that you can add some pure water. Such a sweet nose. Rice crispy treats meets rootbeer...yum. The astringent heat comes though and then finishes very nice again....So tastey, very surupy and full of flavor. Vanilla, ripe bananas, dried figs, raisin, molasses, spice, oak, and there is a dark cola flavor that lurks in the background. I dont know but I think this shit is da Bomb... But then again.... this reveiw is after a few Smitwiks and a George T Stagg "sample".......Enjoy!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Blue Berry Onion Marmalade,Bacon Grilled Blue Cheese Sandwitch

So this is how it happened,  I was planning a little cocktail party for Tanna's Birthday. You all know I like "tap pa's" or "appetizers". I was going to put together some Meatballs with sauces and a shrimp plate. Then I remembered Bacon Fest.  Pangeas had a onion marmalade grilled cheese sandwich that was fantastic. So I was going to set out to duplicate it. After some thought, I decided to use a blueberry "stock" I had previously made. When I thought blueberry, I immediately thought blue cheese! a blue cheese, blueberry onion marmalade with bacon bits and grilled sourdough bread. I think I nailed it! If you missed it, don't fret. It will be a staple at the Handle Bar!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bacon and Brew Feast

So last Saturday afternoon my daughter Sierra and I were off to Pangea's Two Brew Cafe
for the Bacon and Brew fest. We thought would would hook up with Brotha Kris and Jen to have a drink and some bacon goodness. We received a text from Jen to get our arses there quick because they were trying to save us seats and it was packed! I pulled up out front and sent Sierra in to grab our seats while I found a place to park. It was wall to wall people! As I entered the Cafe the smell of bacon was amazing. I started to salivate immediately. Kris found the bottle room had the quickest way to get a brew so he promptly brought me some malty goodness. Next, I sent Sierra up to the loooong line to order us some bacon. They had a special bacon menu. Pork Belly, bacon nachos,bacon grilled cheese and bacon sampler. She was going to get the bacon nachos and sampler for me. She handled the crowd like a seasoned concert veteran. (must have picked up tips from her mom).  She was told they where out of everything except the sampler, so she said "two please". Meanwhile when Kris and Jen received their order they ended up with an extra grilled cheese and marmalade sandwich, Thanks again Kris and Jen! After Sierra ordered she decided to head across the street to Gunthers and get a BLT sandwich so she could eat it while we were waiting for the bacon. Sierra noticed that all these strangers in this packed place were Happy, and making new friends left and right. She realized that bacon was the thing that brought everyone together(or was it the Brew?). And that the world would be a happier place if everyone ate more bacon!

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